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News from 2024

On January 18th 2024 David Clark talked about Experiences as a Magistrate in the Family Court.

Given the snow, there was quite a good audience.

David Clark is one of our members, and a former Mayor of Neston, former Chair of the Trustees of Neston Community & Youth Centre, and a volunteer for many other activities. So, it was characteristic of him that he volunteered to give this talk.

David became a magistrate at the age of 49, and served until compulsory retirement at 70. That means he will always be a J.P.

David’s first story was a complaint about the noise from a cockerel in a row of terraced houses. The owner had tried keeping the bird in a shed, and in his house, but it still crowed during the night. He asked what else he could do. Another case about noise involved a kennels in Thornton Hough, where a complaint by a neighbour was rejected, as the kennels were there before the complainant bought the house.

The Family court hears many cases where local authority social workers want to take drastic action, such as removal of a child from a parent. This can involve a baby born with drug dependency. There may have been violence, dreadful living conditions with poor hygiene. Emotions often run high: in one case a woman said to the magistrates ‘you can cut off my arm but please don’t take my child’. Women who were told that they must choose between leaving an abusive partner or losing their child often say ‘but I love him’. One woman had six children taken away and said she would keep having babies until she was allowed to keep one.

On January 4th, committee members, accompanied by architect Stephen Quicke, former committee member, went to Leahurst for a conducted tour with the Dean of the Veterinary School, Professor Paul Lunn. They were impressed with the advanced technology being used, and the research that often benefits humans as well as animals. Leahurst includes two farms, which run commercially but benefit students too. As the number of students has increased to 200 per year, with two years based at Leahurst, there is a need for new buildings, which could include some student accommodation. Leahurst is in Green Belt, and parts of the site are regarded as sacrosanct, but much of the land is already built on. Some student accommodation would reduce the pressure on local housing. The committee will continue discussions with Professor Lunn. Although Leahurst is probably the biggest employer in the area, many Neston people know little about the work that goes on there.

Committee members at Leahurst. (Left to right Janet Griffiths (Treasurer), Brenda Marple (Chairman), Rob Ward, Derek Hogg, Michelle Johnson.

At our committee meeting on January 10th, Derek Hogg joined the committee. His experience working with estate agents will be valuable in discussions on planning.

News from 2023

On November 16th, Tara Dumas, Strategic Waste Officer for Cheshire West and Chester talked about Recycling after the AGM.

After talking about CWaC’s plans for the future, how they have performed well in the past, and where recycled materials go, she gave advice on what we can recycle kerbside.

Glass and metal food containers and most plastic ones can be recycled kerbside, and are better rinsed. Lids can be left on or off, but lids from glass containers should be separated. Black plastic can now be recycled.

Many items can not be collected kerbside:
Plastic film, such as carrier bags and many food wrappings, can be recycled at supermarkets. Tara expects this will be included in kerbside collections from 2027.
Plant pots can be returned to garden centres.
Blister packs from tablet medicines can be recycled at Superdrug shops that have a pharmacy.  [Chester. Birkenhead, or Liverpool.]
Clothes that are worn out can be sold as rags by some charity shops, including Claire House shop and Shop 4 Neston.
Many chocolate wrappers can be recycled via Terracycle. Some primary schools [including Brookside, Great Sutton] collect them.
Shredded paper makes new paper weak: we can put small amounts in the kitchen waste.
Cartons made of mixed materials and toothpaste tubes,cannot be recycled
Books cannot be recycled unless you take out the pages and leave the spine.
Garden waste might be collected later in the autumn, in future years. It would help if people wrote to ask for this.

On 24 October the purple beech (copper beech) in Bushell Road was taken down. It was one of the trees on our Tree Trail. Thanks to Peter Cunnington for this information. The owners told us some time ago that it was suffering from bracket fungus, and a neighbour was concerned that it might fall. We can update the on-line version, and we hope to produce a revised reprint in due course. If anybody has suggestions for improving the tree trail, please let us know.

On 24 September Janet Griffiths and Rob Ward visited Hooton Hangars, with a view to seeing whether a talk or visit might be arranged in 2024. One of the trustees, Neil Hutchinson, (who lives in Neston) gave us a conducted tour of the historic aeroplanes associated with the site, which opened in 1918. We are grateful to member Alan Newall for suggesting a talk about the RAF and Hooton, and to member Pat Wood for putting us in touch with Neil. We are thinking of a visit to the site in summer of 2024 instead of a talk. Meanwhile there are open days each month.


Janet Griffiths,Rob Ward and Neil Hutchinson with the plane Neil is restoring.

On 21 September Mike Haskins talked about Beatles’ Liverpool and Merseyside, The Beatles first performed under that name at Neston Civic Hall! Many historic Beatle-related sites across Liverpool and Wirral were covered in this humorous illustrated talk. He also sold many copies of his book (£7). The Civic Hall is currently needing renovation, and is owned by CWaC, and managed by NC&YC.

On August 14th Anthony Annakin-Smith led a walk and talk on The Most Important Field in Neston. This replaced the talk planned for July 7th, and was postponed from July 14th because of bad weather. You can read about the field in our newsletter 103, p 5. A group of 20 people learned about ridge and furrow, enclosures, marl pits, lime kilns, hedgerows, the coming of the railway, and its replacement 50 years ago by the Wirral Way. Photo by Rob Ward:

In July Cheshire West and Chester installed the new seat in memory of Celia Garvey by the Conservation Green in Park Street, purchased with funds from the Ruby Holloway Bequest. It overlooks the flowerbed, planted by CWaC with the Fairtrade Logo. They have installed the plastic seat that was there in Hinderton Road, by Renaissance (former police station) in place of the dilapidated one. All this was done at no charge! Photo by David Griffiths shows the committee on Celia’s seat in August 2023 (Left to right, seated Secretary Lindsey Hinks, Chairman Brenda Marple, Treasurer Janet Griffiths; standing Rob Ward and Michelle Johnson).

Photo by Brenda Marple of the Fairtrade flowerbed.

The seat that the Society had installed in Parkgate Road, at the junction with Buggen Lane, was mysteriously destroyed in October 2022. It has at last been replaced. People walking between Neston and Parkgate appreciate being able to sit and rest. Photo, by Brenda Marple, shows the new seat.

Newsletter 105 took longer to print than we expected, but we’ve had good feedback. It included memories of Celia Garvey submitted by members who knew of her long contribution to the Society; notes on talks about The History of Mersey crossings (by Gavin Hunter), Beastly Merseyside (by Ken Pye) and The Vet School and Inside Leahurst (by Rob Smith); The Ruby Holloway Bequest; Out and About (Town, and Further Afield); Wirral Way 50th Anniversary; Neston Town Council; and Treasurer’s Report. We also distributed copies of the new Town Trail, and the new Tree Trail, which has also provoked good comments. Please look at our Town Trail and our Tree Trail: go to About Neston, and download as pdfs

On May 22nd, members of the committee went to Celia Garvey’s funeral. Despite the date not being announced (in accordance with Celia’s wishes) a lot of people came. Father Francis, from St Winefride’s, conducted a minimal service (following Celia’s instructions). Linda Ireland, a great help to Celia for many years, invited us to her house afterwards. It was good to talk to people who’d known Celia in different ways – restoring old houses, dealing in antique furniture, and appreciating fine art and food.

On May 18th David Hearn talked about Cheshire Strongholds defending Liverpool. This covered the period from about 1820 to the Second World War. Stronghold defences in Wirral included Fort Perch Rock, Liscard Battery, pill boxes, and anti-aircraft batteries. It was an informative and amusing presentation, with many examples of cutting-edge weaponry being deployed against non-existent threats.

Cheshire West & Chester Council (CWaC) have re-instated bollards on the Conservation Green, by the junction of Buggen Lane and Leighton Road. The part by Mill Street, however, still has no bollards, and vehicles regularly park on the grass.

CWaC have repaired the approaches to the Millennium Bridge, which carries the Wirral Way over Bridge Street, so that cyclists are no longer confronted by a two-inch step.

The temporary metal fencing on Liverpool Road has been replaced. The fence, between Buildwas Road and the car wash was an eyesore, but there is now less ugly permanent metal fencing.

On April 23rd, Neston Earth Group held the Neston Earth Festival, postponed because of the Queen’s death. We launched the printed version of the Neston Tree Trail, created jointly by Neston Civic Society and the Neston Earth Group, and funded from the Ruby Holloway bequest. The Tree Trail can be downloaded as a pdf on the About Neston page.

Sad News. Celia Garvey died on April 9th. We had a committee meeting at her home in Park Street on March 8th. She was not very well then, but it is still a shock to know that such a formidable lady is no longer with us.

Celia joined the committee in 1989. She took over as secretary from Susan Chambers in January 1992 until 2001. Celia then became social secretary, booking speakers for meetings. She resigned from that only in February 2023. She was also Chairman for several years, until 2011, and was a Neston Town Councillor from its inception. She hosted our committee meetings on many occasions, with generous supplies of cakes and biscuits. Memories from people who knew her are in the latest newsletter.

On April 2nd, the United Reformed Church community garden was opened by Revd Geoff Felton, Moderator of the Mersey Synod of URC. Janet Griffiths and Rob Ward attended the ceremony. The Society gave a donation towards the creation of the garden from the Ruby Holloway bequest. The URC are looking forward to it being used by all who would like to sit in its peace and surrounding beauty.

On March 16th, Professor Rob Smith talked about the History of Leahurst. This replaced the previously advertised film and talk about Lady Hamilton. Leahurst, on Chester High Road, is part of Liverpool University, where veterinary students are trained, animals are treated, and research is conducted. Photo by Rob Ward ( left to right Chairman Brenda Marple, Rob Smith, and Treasurer Janet Griffiths).

News from 2022.

On October 19th, the Society planted three trees at Neston High School, for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, for Reg Chrimes and for Norman Angel. Reg and Norman were long-standing members of the Society, and both dedicated their lives to the Neston community. They were instrumental in the establishment of secondary education in Neston.  

Penny Chrimes wrote ‘I just wanted to say a really heartfelt thank you for the tree planting ceremony yesterday. It was very moving and so appropriate to have a magnolia tree – which Dad loved – planted in a place that meant so, so much to him. And amongst people to whom Neston is so important.’ 

Mike Chrimes added ‘I would also like to add that looking at the photographs I took this morning, the overwhelming expression on people’s faces is one of joy. To be part of a joyous occasion will be an abiding memory for us all.’ 

Peter Angel said ‘I too would like to thank you all for making the tree planting ceremony on Wednesday so special: it was both a joyous and a moving occasion. Rachel, Daniel and I are very pleased and touched by the Neston Civic Society’s decision to honour my father and Reg in this way. My thanks to everyone associated with making the tree planting ceremony possible.’

Members of the families of Reg Chrimes and Norman Angel attended, alongside Head teacher Keith Simpson, Mayor Pat Kynaston, Neston Councillor Keith Millar and Little Neston Councillor Louise Gittins.

At the November AGM, Brenda Marple was elected as Chairman. She is a Town Councillor, lives in the centre of Neston, and is active in many local organisations. After the AGM, Gavin Hunter spoke about The History of Mersey Crossings.

© Neston Civic Society 2024